Julius Schwartz' Nycon 1 Reminiscence
1939 -- Nycon 1
by Julius Schwartz
From the Noreascon Three PB
I'll leave it to other Nycon I survivors to recall the convention proceedings inside Caravan Hall. I'm going to time-travel back to 112-10 West 57th Street, where I was standing outside, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the pro/fan celebrities. Ah -- here comes the "Little Giant," Leo Margulies, Editorial Director of Standard Magazines' Thrilling Wonder and Startling Stories! Accompanying him, a beaming fan who had bused in all the way from California. Little did this teenage Ray Bradbury dream that two years later Margulies would buy his second accepted story, "Gabriel's Horn!" Trailing behind this duo is a couple of pros, Mort Weisinger and Manly Wade Wellman, along with Chicago fan Erle Korshak.
Jauntily striding along now is the dapper L. Sprague de Camp, who is startled as a young fan leaps out of nowhere to ask for his autograph. Sprague obliges by signing a scrap of paper propped up against a plate-glass window. A moment later the autograph hound corrals Jack Williamson of New Mexico -- much to the amusement of another Jack -- Darrow, the prolific letter column writer from Chicago.
Passers-by gape as a space-suited 4SJ (aka Forrest J Ackerman) comes along, accompanied by a bemused Robert "Doc" Lowndes. Darrow and Ackerman! This is too precious a moment for me to miss -- and I introduce to each other the two top S-F letter writers of the day!
Next to show up: a trio of popular scientifiction (sorry folks -- this is 1939) writers: Edmond Hamilton, Ross Rocklynne, and Otto Binder; then a trio of Philly fans: Oswald Train, Robert A. Madle, and John V. Baltadonis. Now a couple of couples: Lloyd Arthur Eshbach and Charles D. Hornig; John W. Campbell and Robert D. Swisher.
And so it goes as the First World's Science Fiction Convention gets off to a celebrated start! At convention's end, nine of us -- pros and fans alike -- gathered at Mort Weisinger's home for refreshments and convention chatter -- the first "Dead Dog Party!"
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